Dr. Kevin Parker - 2018

Dr. Kevin Parker serves as a state missionary and director of media services for the Baptist Convention of New Mexico.

I am excited about the Resourcing Worship Virtual Worship Conference. Worship is worth the attention. I will share more about the conference at the end. First, I want to talk about worship leaders. They are so important.

During the pandemic, I listened to a church worshipping together on a Zoom meeting. None of them were video conference experts. No one told them that singing together would be difficult. So, they did it. Their worship leader began leading a song with no accompaniment. Everyone joined in with different delays due to the technology. They loved worshipping together. No one even brought up the odd experience with the technology. Their joy at worshipping God together had eclipsed such minor problems. Their joy inspired me.

Worship leaders matter to the church. They are worth every investment. Along with musicians, they fill an important biblical role. Though their skills and settings vary, God receives the work of every one of them with pleasure. Like an evangelist calls lost people to God, worship leaders call saved people back to God. Their work is like a spiritual reset for believers each week. The songs they sing and the effort they invest shakes eternity over and over.

But, worship leaders face challenges as they do their work. They face the same spiritual distractions everyone else faces, and more. People all prefer different styles and songs. They have favorites and songs they dislike every time they hear them. People also come from different religious  backgrounds. Baptist churches are no longer filled with traditional Baptists. Members vary from no church background to experiences with multiple denominations. Their theology is as diverse as their history.

Worship leaders also face team issues. In some churches, the pastor is the worship leader. Sometimes, he plays the piano and leads worship; then, he walks to the pulpit to preach. Imagine the difficulty of taking a vacation or simply waking up sick on a Sunday morning. Who fills in?

As church size increases, so does the size of worship teams. Worship leaders span the spectrum from having only a pianist to having a full worship band, choir, ensemble, technical crew and more. Their team members expect them to be experts in everything worship related - an impossible task. And, the larger the teams grow, the more difficult scheduling and coordinating people becomes.

Church members also come from different cultural backgrounds. Those cultures have music preferences and unique styles. Worship leaders weekly navigate the sensitivities that come with variety. As churches grow in mixed-culture communities, their worship services reflect their people. Worship leaders spearhead the effort to adapt to everyone and everything.

In the midst of everything, worship leaders must stay close to God personally. Their task is not easy. But, it is critical and essential.

The virtual worship conference features a mind-boggling array of training opportunities. The cost is extremely reasonable and offers participants the opportunity to come back over three months and watch breakout sessions they could not attend. Everything happens from home - no travel. The presenters are practitioners and specialists. The conference more resembles a 3-month flexible conference. And, it is planned and coordinated by State Conventions. Visit resourcingworship.com for full information.   

Kevin Parker is editor of the Baptist New Mexican news journal and GoBNM.com, news and information outlets for the Baptist Convention of New Mexico.

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